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Drawing a definite line

Themes on heritage interest artist Sripathi Acharya, who is as comfortable in oils as in metal reliefs. A review of his exhibition, on at Vinyasa Gallery till today.


SRIPATHI ACHARYA'S strength lies in his drawing. Having trained under masters such as S. Dhanapal and Santhana Raj, he uses the line to his advantage. While in some pastels such as "Senior and Junior" depicting Ganeshas and "Friends", again showing two happy-go-lucky young cuddly Ganeshas, the continuous line plays the main role. In other drawings like "Tiruvalluvar" and another showing Gandhi walking with two women, it is the broken lines that highlight the imagery.

Sripathi, an alumnus of the College of Arts and Crafts, seems to have a special feeling towards children. He lends a charm to the baby Ganeshas and other drawings of children, the eyes full of mischief. His drawing of a middle-aged couple attracts attention and can be easily identified as Subramania Bharathi and his wife, though the work is not titled as such.


In fact, portraiture also appears to be his forte. He is at home in pastels, creating a variety of textures through myriad lines and scratches, alternating smooth surface of colours. Sripathi espouses the cause of heritage and believes one can express contemporary ideas through traditional motifs; he also opines that it is possible to be innovative without violating tradition. Thus, his themes and images reflect this belief such as in "Divine Initiation". In such compositions, his human forms are highly stylised; but the background space could have been utilised better instead of trying to introduce so many different symbols.

While the "Terracotta village" is quite interesting mainly because of the more or less monochromatic depiction, too many colours and images spoil "Land is mine".

Before joining the Kalakshetra as a lecturer of painting, Sripathi also specialised in metal and mixed media murals. To give the viewers an idea of his skill in that area, he has presented three metal reliefs at his current solo exhibition at the Vinyasa Art Gallery, TTK Road. While "Aditya" is mixed media in which he has incorporated oxidised copper for the horse, brass for the face of Sun God and a background of cork, "Kalpavriksha" is in copper. The traditional image showing an elephant and bull is in brass; the heads of the two animals are joined in one unit and when viewed carefully, can be discerned as bull from one side and elephant from the other. The show concludes today (February 10).

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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